June 1st, 2017
Blue Planet Foundation is deeply disheartened by President Donald Trump’s decision today to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, humanity’s best attempt to collectively solve the planet’s climate crisis. The agreement, signed in Paris in December 2015, seeks to limit the dangerous rise in Earth’s temperature due to fossil fuel consumption and other actions changing the climate.
“Trump’s irresponsible action today imperils our best chance to limit the existential threat of climate change,” said Jeff Mikulina, Blue Planet’s Executive Director. “Trump’s decision is fundamentally at odds with climate science, at odds with global leadership, and at odds with a healthy planet that supports civilization as we know it.”
Hawaii is directly in the crosshairs for the most significant effects of climate change: more severe storms, rising sea levels, and hotter temperatures. The state’s recent experience with a ‘king tides’ event, where a combination of factors caused the ocean to flood low-lying parts of the state, is a portent for things to come with increased climate change. Ocean acidification, caused by increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the ocean, has the potential to decimate fisheries and the coral reefs that protect the islands.
“It’s tragic that we have a President who does not understand science,” said Henk Rogers, Chairman of the Board and Founder of Blue Planet Foundation. “This means that those of us who do will just have to work twice as hard to solve the greatest threat of our generation.”
Nearly every nation on Earth signed the accord to reduce the amount of climate-changing carbon pollution. The United States now joins two other nations in bucking the pact: Nicaragua, who argued for a stronger agreement, and Syria, who is fighting a civil war. The United States will no longer have a seat at the negotiating table while the rest of the world forges deals to solve the planet’s greatest crisis.
“By walking away from humanity’s best hope to govern global carbon emissions, Trump is putting the United States at a competitive disadvantage as other countries embrace clean energy solutions and markets,” said Melissa Miyashiro, Blue Planet Foundation’s Chief of Staff.
Although the United States is abandoning its pledge in the Paris climate agreement, individual states and cities have the opportunity to act on climate solutions. Hawaii has been a vanguard for renewable energy innovation, deployment, and policy, adopting the nation’s first 100% renewable energy law in 2015.
“Hawaii is uniquely positioned to lead on clean energy solutions the globe so desperately needs,” added Miyashiro. “Our state is already on the map for its bold renewable energy policy and clean energy deployment. While the White House chooses to go one direction, Hawaii can choose to go the other direction.”
Blue Planet Foundation, however, lamented the recent inaction by state leadership on new clean energy policy.
During recent Hawaii legislative sessions, Blue Planet Foundation advocated for measures to set a target for 100% renewable ground transportation, fix existing loopholes in clean energy law, modernize utility regulation, and increase energy savings in homes and businesses. These and other clean energy bills failed to advance in the past two sessions.
“With Trump’s action today, Hawaii’s leaders now shoulder the increased responsibility to adopt aggressive clean energy solutions,” added Mikulina. “We can no longer count on this country’s leadership to provide the solutions that Hawaii requires.”
Hawaii helped fuel the science behind the historic Paris climate agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1957, a small lab atop Mauna Loa has been recording the increasing carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. This dataset is at the heart of scientists’ understanding of fossil fuel’s role in changing the composition of the atmosphere. In April of this year, that lab recorded the highest daily average carbon dioxide concentration—410 parts per million—since well before humans walked the Earth.
The United States has contributed more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than any other country.
“President Trump’s decision today to abandon the Paris agreement is a devastating setback to our global race to rein in carbon emissions. But we’re not abandoning hope,” said Mikulina. “Hawaii’s journey to 100% clean energy is now more important than ever.